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The Memory Code

In ancient, pre-literate cultures across the globe, tribal elders had encyclopedic memories. They could name all the animals and plants across a landscape, identify the stars in the sky and recite the history of their people. Yet today, most of us struggle to memorize more than a short poem.

Using traditional Aboriginal Australian song lines as a starting point, Lynne Kelly has since identified the powerful memory technique used by our ancestors and indigenous people around the world. In turn, she has then discovered that this ancient memory technique is the secret purpose behind the great prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, which have puzzled archaeologists for so long.

The stone circles across Britain and northern Europe, the elaborate stone houses of New Mexico, huge animal shapes in Peru, the statues of Easter Island – these all serve as the most effective memory system ever invented by humans. They allowed people in non-literate cultures to memorize the vast amounts of information they needed to survive. But how?

For the first time, Lynne Kelly reveals the purpose of these monuments and their uses as ‘memory places’, and shows how we can use this ancient technique to train our minds.

Red

A New York Times bestseller, Red is the first book to explore the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world.

With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling, Jacky Colliss Harvey explores red hair in the ancient world, the prejudice manifested against redheads across medieval Europe, and red hair during the Renaissance as both an indicator of Jewishness and the height of fashion in Protestant England, thanks to Elizabeth I.

Colliss Harvey also examines depictions of red hair in art and literature, looks at modern medicine and the genetic decoding of redheads, and considers red hair in contemporary culture, from advertising to ‘gingerism’ and bullying.

More than just a book for redheads, Red is a fascinating social and cultural celebration of a rich and mysterious genetic quirk.

The Kindness Revolution

Revolutions never start at the top. If we dare to dream of a more loving country – kinder, more compassionate, more cooperative, more respectful, more inclusive, more egalitarian, more harmonious, less cynical – there’s only one way to start turning that dream into a reality: each of us must live as if this is already that country.

Following the ravages of 2020’s bushfires and pandemic on our mental and emotional health and on the economy, Hugh Mackay reflects on the challenges we faced during that year of upheaval and the questions many of us have asked. What really matters to me? Am I living the kind of life I want? What sort of society do I want us to become?

Urging us not to let those questions go, and pointing to our inspiring displays of kindness and consideration, our personal sacrifices for the common good and our heightened appreciation of the value of local neighbourhoods and communities, he asks in turn: ‘Could we become renowned as a loving country, rather than simply a “lucky” one?’

Absorbing, wise and inspiring, The Kindness Revolution is a distillation of Hugh Mackay’s life’s work. Written for our times, this truly remarkable book shows how crises and catastrophes often turn out to be the making of us.